IS it time to change the medical timeout rules in the wake of the wrist injury to Novak Djokovic last week?

Australian John Alexander think so.

“I think when players so routinely are taking advantage of these rules and so obviously using them strategically to have an advantage tactically over their opponent, these rules need to be looked at a little bit more,” Alexander told the ABC.

Djokovic eventually beat Jiri Lehecka 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-1 in a United Cup match, but his use of timers has cast a doubt over their use.

“The injury timeouts — if there is a question mark over his greatness in his entire career, it’s the way he has, in many people’s minds, strategically used injury timeouts,” Alexander added.

“After the loss of the second set, take an injury timeout to have his wrist massaged for some five minutes, breaking the opponent’s concentration, maybe having thoughts entering into his opponent’s head ‘gee maybe he’ll default, I’m all over for the night’.

“Then he picks himself up, wins the next five games, wins that third set 6-1.

“I have to say at this point I agree with many of my friends who say if they don’t see blood they don’t believe there’s an injury.”

Djokovic’s injury was a major contributor in his loss to Aussie Alex de Minaur in straight sets on Wednesday and although he has said he has time to recover in time for the Australian Open, which begins a week tomorrow, up against an Alcaraz or Sinner?

Novak Djokovic Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon in 2022. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

OR Nick Kyrgios? The Aussie firebrand waded into the Djokovic injury issue, blaming the ATP for the problem.

Why? The constant changing of balls is the reason, Kyrgios has argued.

“Change of balls every week finally got to Novak’s wrist,” Kyrgios said on X.

“The ATP really need to do something about this problem. Players suffer all the time.

“Also, for the people who think balls aren’t a big enough factor to result in an athlete being hurt are potato’s. The load through a player’s elbow, wrist over this vigorous season is enormous.”

WHY is Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley supportive of a Melbourne Park stadium being named after Novak Djokovic?

An Australian champion – on home turf? Yes. But a man who was deported from the country for refusing to follow the law two years ago?

The current world No.1 is the most decorated men’s singles player at the tournament, winning 10 times, but that does not automatically qualify for stadium naming rights.

Tennis Australia does not own the facilities at Melbourne Park so any naming might be a while way.

That said, the woke left wing Victorian government might like to expedite the idea, if only to stick a middle digit up at the former Federal Government who banned him in 2022.

THERE’S losers and there’s sore losers. Cue Jelena Ostapenko.

The Latvian world No.12 reacted angrily to a decision made by umpire Julie Kjendlie during the closing stages of her quarter-final clash with Victoria Azarenka.

Ostapenko claimed that a ball bounced more than once on Azarenka’s side in the third set of the match which she lost 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

“You make so much mistake. With three bounces. I never want you on my match again,” Ostapenko said to the umpire.

“You will never be on my match. You will never be on my match. I don’t want you on my matches. You ruin my match.”

Ostapenko has form with this umpire, in Linz in 2019, when she lost to Coco Gauff.

“Final in Linz I will never forget. Never,” she was heard saying.

Sore loser?

AGE is catching up with Rafa Nadal – after he suffered another hip injury during his loss to Jordan Thompson in Brisbane.

“The injury is in a very similar place to what happened last year,” Nadal said after the match.

“The only problem is, because the place is the same, you are a little bit more scared than usual.

“I need to see how I wake up tomorrow morning.

“I hope it is not important and I hope to have the chance to be practising next week and to play in Melbourne. Honestly, I am not 100% sure of anything now.”

It may well be muscle fatigue, given the oppressive heat the match was played in, which would be a positive – but could this be the final season of a magnificent career?

RADUCANU watch: Emma Raducanu has added Nick Cavaday to her coaching team ahead of the Australian Open.

The British coach, who worked with the 2021 US Open champion during the off-season at Roehampton, is expected to arrive Melbourne this week.

Raducanu will play the Kooyong Classic exhibition event this week, along with teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva.

IS Alex De Minaur the outside bet for a charge to the finals in Melbourne?

De Minaur has moved ominously into the ATP top ten (the first Aussie man to do so since Lleyton Hewitt in 2006)after solid personal appearance at the United Cup.

His United Cup campaign included wins over Germany Alexander Zverev, world No.1 Novak Djokovic and American Taylor Fritz.

With a partisan home crowd behind him he is one to watch for sure.

AND finally … from Madison Keys:

Hi everyone… Unfortunately I’ve been struggling with a shoulder injury and have been advised by my medical staff to withdraw from the Australian Open this year.

This obviously isn’t the best news to start the tennis season, but I also know I’m making the right choice for my body to take the proper time and let it heal.

I absolutely love Melbourne and the fans there SO much and can’t wait to see you next year.